Firstly, I’ve got to talk about the fact that Risky Roadz is back and has curated a line up of some of Grime’s most notorious MCs including Skepta, Shorty, Novelist, Jammer, Chip, P Money and more for the 'Return Of Risky Roadz Cypher'. This type of energy and rawness is what first attracted me to the genre. The never ending cyphers - whether it be on pirate radio, on stage, Jammer’s basement or even just a London housing estate - in which all your favourite rappers would pass the mic spraying arrogant, almost tribal bars accentuated by the inevitable wheel up. So, when I heard about the official return of the photographer and director who documented some of the most iconic moments in Grime, I knew it was due to be a significant collaboration and I wasn’t disappointed.
Starting with the prince of the genre, Novelist, the cypher immediately transported me back to the aforementioned experiences. The Lewisham based rapper’s loyalty to the authenticity of Grime creates a sound that could have been crafted during the genre’s conception. Next up Risky shows some archive footage of the now intercontinentally famous Skepta before the North London MC jumps on the cypher for a quick verse. I could go on and breakdown each verse from each MC on the cypher but to fully grasp how momentous the cypher is; you need to watch it.
Next, maintaining the energy and Grime nostalgia, the MOBO Award winning Section Boyz collaborated with Lee Trapstar and Vertex to revitalise 'Oi', an anthem that reshaped urban music in the UK. Obviously it is never going to be as good as the original but, what they did do was recreate the atmosphere and reiterate the importance of the tune, adding their distinctive, South London character. The visuals – including the stylistic Trapstar plug and the cameo from Lethal Bizzle – add to the energy and I’m generally rating the cover highly. It’s a big deal to take on a track that was so iconic to the development of the Grime scene but, in my opinion, they did it justice.
Now for the slower tempo, rap vibe. As I mentioned earlier, Skepta has become internationally renowned and because of this, and his relationship with Drake, he gains regular air time on the OVO Sound radio show on Beats1 and last week they premiered his latest track 'Ladies Hit Squad' Ft. D Double E and ASVP NVST. I can’t lie, it’s quite an odd collaboration, but I’m definitely feeling it. It’s far from the 140bpm Grime tempo that you’d be used to hearing D Double on and it has a strong US influence but the hook from Nast and the verses from the two UK MCs surprisingly work well together. Also, after seeing the teasers from various BBK members and the behind the scenes shots, I’m keen to see the video.
Finally, if you’re a fan of UK Rap, you will be more than familiar with Nines. He’s been around for a minute and has become one of the most undeniably popular rappers in the scene. His latest project, 'One Foot In', increased his notoriety further and after officially taking SBTV founder Jamal Edwards on as his manager, the momentum has been maintained. Last week he released the visuals for his track 'Yay' and provided fans with that greezy flow and real talk that he’s known for.
Words: Patrick Fennelly
Online Edit: Ra'ed Khan